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Afghan Women And Girls Fear Loss Of Rights As Taliban Takes Over

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Aug. 20 2021, Published 4:30 a.m. ET

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Just days after the United States removed troops from Afghanistan earlier this week, the Taliban, a harsh, totalitarian, militaristic sect within the Islamic faith within the country, has taken over the government again through force.

As the conservative religious groups gain power, women, who have regained many rights since its decline in the nation, fear losing their rights once again. Education for girls is only one of the things feared lost as the regime overthrow occurs. The deal struck by the United States to remove troops from Afghanistan – signed on February 29, 2020, under Trump’s administration – leaves the future of women completely up to the Taliban.

“The Taliban remains broadly consistent in its restrictive approach to women’s rights and would roll back much of the past two decades of progress if the group regains national power,” said the US intelligence community’s top analytical body previous to the removal of U.S. troops.

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Before the 2001 US-led invasion, restricting the Taliban’s control, women and girls experienced harsh rules barring them from attendance of educational institutions, working outside their homes, being out in public without male relatives accompanying them, and more. The Taliban are also known for their harsh Sharia law practices, which prohibit women and girls from many social and human rights. If women violate these laws and regulations, they are often beaten publicly, humiliated, and in extreme cases, killed outright with no contest of the law.

The Taliban have claimed that this time as they retake power, women will retain the rights they gained under the occupation of foreign troops. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in May, “The purpose would be enabling women to contribute to the country in a peaceful and protected environment,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in May.

Women’s rights activists from Afghanistan and others are not confident that the Taliban will keep their promises. “Women in Afghanistan are the most at danger or most at-risk population of the country,” said Fawzia Koofi, a women’s rights activist and former lawmaker and member of the Afghan delegation. She added that the women of Afghanistan feel “betrayed” by the happenings.

Women have already been forced to remain indoors within cities under the Taliban’s control once again. A letter sent anonymously from a group of women in one of the cities where U.S. troops pulled out stated, “The Taliban, during the previous regime, showed that they would never allow women to study and work while Islam allowed them to do so, even under Islam. Men are entitled to the same rights in every period of time. We are awake with thousands of fears and fears until dawn. Please stop the Taliban. Respect women and girls.”

Fears have also arisen that women and girls would be forced into marriages with members of the Taliban. Mujahid dismissed their letter as “rubbish and baseless propaganda,” denying any women would be forced into marriage.

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